North York Moors

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Planning Permission

How the application for the Mine was decided

The National Park is afforded the highest level of landscape protection and central government policy, referred to as the ‘Major Development Test’, applies to proposals for large developments such as the mine and mineral transport system. The Major Development Test states that planning permission for such developments should be refused except in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated that they are in the public interest. Consideration of such applications should include an assessment of the need for the development and the cost of and scope for developing elsewhere. There should also be an assessment of any detrimental effects on the environment and the extent to which they could be mitigated.

Consideration of the application by the North York Moors National Park Authority involved an objective and rigorous assessment of the proposals in the context of local plan policies and government policy set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The conclusions of the assessment were set out in a comprehensive report of the Director of Planning.  Members considered the report and, in reaching a decision on the application, took account of the environmental impacts of the development as well as the large scale potential economic benefits at national, regional and local level. The Members’ decision concluded that the circumstances were exceptional and that it was in the public interest for the proposals to be approved.  Planning permission was granted in October 2015 for the mine head site and other associated elements of the development that would be located in the National Park. The main surface mine head site in the National Park is now known as Woodsmith Mine.

The 2015 permission was subject to 95 planning conditions and related legal agreements setting out a range of requirements for additional mitigation and environmental compensation measures. Referring to the decision to grant permission, Andy Wilson, Chief Executive of the North York Moors National Park said;

"Today's decision is the culmination of hard work, of thorough examination and in-depth discussions of the largest planning application this National Park, and indeed any English National Park, has had to consider. I appreciate that there will be many disappointed by today's decision but Members felt that the long term benefits for the local, regional and national economy were transformational. This truly exceptional nature plus the measures proposed by the company to mitigate harm and deliver widespread environmental benefits to the Park over a long period of time tipped the balance in favour of approval."

Please use the links below to access background documents relating to the original decision in 2015, including:

Special Planning Committee Report

Appendices to Special Planning Committee Report.

Members Update Sheet

Late Verbal Update

Approved Resolution

The 2015 planning permission decision notice can be viewed here.